Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

United Nations: Refugee displacement at seven-decade high

With a record 65.6 million people past year forcibly uprooted from their homes by violence and persecution, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called on the global community to provide support and solidarity.

The total represents an enormous number of people needing protection worldwide.

The figure of 65.6 million comprises three important components. Of these, 17.2 million come under the responsibility of UNHCR, and the remainder are Palestinian refugees registered with our sister-organization UNRWA. The total refugee population - people who fled their home countries - was about 22.5 million people, and almost half of those were children.

The record number includes 22.5 million refugees, 40.3 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million asylum seekers.

This file photo taken on June 4, 2017 shows a girl resting with other Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) on a mat in the Kasai Province in Kikwit.

Syria continued to have the largest forcibly displaced population - 12 million - including 5.5 million refugees, 6.3 million internally displaced people and 185,000 asylum seekers.

It noted that the pace at which people are becoming displaced remains very high.

With the world home to more than 65 million refugees, Ethiopia is playing its dutiful part as one of the top five refugee hosting countries globally, said Zeynu Jemal, Deputy Director of ARRA. On average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute a year ago, or one every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence.

Despite the surge in applications, a mere 28 refugees were accepted in 2016, just one more than the previous year.

In the shadow of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and South Sudan forced millions of people to flee their homes.

A crowd of displaced people look on as members of the United Nations multi-national police contingent provide security during a visit of UNCHR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi to South Sudan's largest camp for the internally-displaced, in.

The report defines refugees as those forced to leave their homes for other countries.

Syria is still the world's largest producer of refugees with an estimated 5.5 million living in Turkey and elsewhere.

While people continued to flee in record numbers, the United Nations report noted that around 500,000 refugees returned home a year ago.

Within this appeal, UNICEF operations require almost $50 million in 2017 as well as $30 million each year from 2018-2020 to provide critical health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, early childhood development, adolescent development, and child protection interventions, for both refugee and host community children. Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parents.

Idoko said the society needed to provide the displaced persons with opportunities to rebuild their lives, reintegrate and facilitate their economic rehabilitation to enable them return to normalcy.

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